Sunday, April 3, 2011

Local inspiration, a fancy compost bin & lashing winds

What a lovely day spent with Bob and Linda Morgan. We took the audio recorder, video cam & regular cameras over to visit a delightful pair of school teachers (we met the husband in compost class). They gave us a 4 hour tour of their amazing yard. (They have enough lettuce at the moment--they could do salad for 40.) They have solar panels and water harvesting barrels (industrial-sized), 23 raised beds (because the wife developed hip problems... so they have adapted their system for her--everything up 2' off the ground. Quite nice) He has 3 bee hives with special watering stations set out for them. And a chicken coop to die for... 4 extremely happy chickens with their own big raised bed full of greens. (Who knew that chickens really liked kale?!) OMG it was such fun. Oh, and worm bins. They have about 3 times our number of trays just teaming with happy worms. After that & a stop at Trader Joe's for groceries, we were absolutely whipped!

The New Compost Bin:
During the last week of the master composter's class, on the enthusiastic recommendation of one of our new friends, we bought a fancy black plastic rotating compost bin. Unfortunately, it came in a big box in pieces. We've been so busy we haven't had time to put it together until this morning, so we pitched in with the usual pile of tools & a certain amount of swearing and head scratching. By the time the wind came up in the early afternoon, it was ready for action! Stay tuned.

Spring winds:
Terrible wind this afternoon. G looked at the weather history: we haven't had any appreciable rain in the last 60 days. The air was so thick with dust that when we went out ~5, you couldn't see the mountains. And of course, the Elms time this whole thing perfectly--the seeds came down thick as snow. :(

Worm bin:
I built them a new food level today (i.e. added a tray with goodies in it), and fluffed both existing trays. Probably annoyed the heck out of them, poor things. *sorry* And then I added insult to injury with a jarring late-evening vibration session, i.e. vacuuming the rug by the front door and on into Austin's room, which was knee-deep in kitty litter. Poor worms. >But the house looks better.

Lilacs are blooming. >When the wind isn't battering us to bits, the air around the front of the house is very sweet. Dandelions popping up. The last of our daffodils have opened, while the first group wither. It has actually been a little warm for the pansies, but they are brave and hardy--a burst of color in a couple pots on the front stoop. We couldn't resist buying a few more at Costco this afternoon. An 8-pack/ 4" mixed. Some orange yellows with burgundy centers. Velvety and stunning.

I transplanted the sweet potato vines we clipped last fall and propped in water on the kitchen window all winter. Hope they make it (of course, it's all a big experiment, right?!) Gloria went crazy at the seed wall in the lobby of Alameda nursery recently. She bought us 5 varieties of sunflowers (the 5-6' sort). I scrupulously labeled and planted 4 types. She also put in full-sized Marigolds the end of last week. Oh, and one of the dogs decided to plant one of their bones in the Pea bed yesterday evening. !! G. spent awhile this morning putting up a fence to protect our little bits of green gold. And then watered everything (we have great hopes for the asparagus.)

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